After I was injured in May of 2014 I was having a hard time staying active. I had gone from working 60 hours per week to doing nothing, so in an effort to combat my newly sedentary lifestyle I decided to go for a ride along Washington’s Backcountry Discovery Route.
I had ridden parts of it here and there over the last year and gathered it was mostly logging roads and light jeep trails, which is right in my wheelhouse as a dirt newbie. I was wrong.
I grew up backpacking and mountain climbing with Boy Scouts, so with a shoulder injury preventing me from backpacking I figured this would be the best way to get my fix in the mountains.
I left at about 8AM Saturday aiming for Packwood. It was a pleasant but wholly unremarkable ride that I’ve made a dozen times. Once I got to Packwood I fueled up, double checked the bike, said hello to another Eireannach Rothai member that randomly happened to be at the same gas station on a ride half a state away from home, and headed out.
Riding White Pass was as pretty as always, but I was excited to get to the dirt. I turned down Bethel Ridge Road and immediately felt better about life.
That was relatively short lived, as I began descending into more and more difficult terrain. I hadn’t anticipated more hardcore jeep trails. I foolishly decided that this would be short lived, that it was necessary for the views on Bethel Ridge, and that I’d be back on logging roads in short order. I was wrong.
For the next 15-20 miles I dealt with some relatively difficult roads with deep rutting, mud, and enough fist sized rocks to last me a lifetime. Also some incredibly beautiful views.
Once I managed to get back to pavement I decided to refuel at Whistlin’ Jacks, then ascended Bald Mountain Road. It was a residential gravel road for several miles, roughly what I had expected initially from the route, but again it was short lived. The first hill I went up cemented the fact that I wasn’t turning around come hell or high water. It was incredibly difficult, with the bike kicking to and fro. Loose rocks in sandy dirt on a steep grade is not something to be trifled with on a 600lb machine. But, as was beginning to become a theme, I was rewarded for my effort with a view.
To be continued…